A Non-Marxist’s Marx

MarxKarl Marx (1818-1883)

May 5 is Karl Marx’s Birthday.
In USA, practically nobody knows Marx, outside of the academia. In India, corporate powers have done their best to ridicule this great philosopher. And in this era of Post-Truth or Post-Rationalism, curiosity, let alone studied admiration, is a thing of the past.
Communists in power, through their inefficient, violent and corrupt administrations, have also contributed greatly to people’s misunderstanding. Joseph Stalin is an example. Stalin in Soviet Union had undone what the Bolshevik Revolution achieved, under the leadership of Lenin. The Gang of Four and Deng Xiaoping had undone what Mao achieved in China.
Even though I am not a Marxist, on many of his analyses, I feel as if he is speaking on my behalf. Media would not want us to know about them.
Marx Quote #1. — “You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths.” (From “The Communist Manifesto,” 1848).
Marx Quote #2. — “In every stock[market] swindle every one knows that some time or other the crash must come, but every one hopes that it may fall on the head of his neighbor, after he himself has caught the shower of gold and placed it in safety.” (From “Capital: Critique of Political Economy,” 1867).
Marx Quote #3. — “If the laborer consumes his disposable time for himself, he robs the capitalist.” (From “Capital”).
Marx Quote #4. — “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions…” (From the “Introduction to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right,” 1843).
Marx Quote #5. — “If anything is certain, it is that I myself am not a Marxist.” (Quoted by Friedrich Engels, in a letter to Eduard Bernstein, 1882).
VERY ENLIGHTENING.
Know this great man who revolutionized human history, on behalf of the have-nots. Labor unions, anti-war movements, feminist movements — all the progressive struggles can find their recent roots in the philosophies of Marx and Engels.
In the 19th century, in the era of European enlightenment, Marx, Darwin and Freud were perhaps the three most notable personalities. We owe so much to them.
Sincerely,
Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York
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Remember December 6: India’s Trump-like Powers Rob the Poor and Reward the Rich

9 Kar sevaks enter the Babri Masjid. A group of volunteers even

Hindu supremacists destroyed religious harmony in India on December 6, 1992. On December 6, 2016, they are destroying the poor and rewarding the rich.
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Well, it’s now so easy to hoodwink all!

I never thought I would ever have to witness the sorry plight of educated Indians hovering in such an intellectual void, including the erudite Bengalis. The economics of the entire country has just been completely jeopardized and at least fifty crores (five hundred million) of its people and their families have been robbed of any kind of finance, apparently in a drive to eradicate the black (illegal) money of the country. And when the target is “untaxed money,” can sentiments of patriotism be left far behind? No, a big no, if any debate questioning the drive is to be nipped in the bud.

Can’t we expect anybody who understands economics to speak out? Or, anybody who knows the rampant vandalism unleashed by globalization of a 1%-controlled economy? Does nobody know the game plan of IMF, World Bank, American and Western powers in the guise of India’s prime minister Modi, and billionaire businessmen such as the Ambanis, Adanis, Bill Gates and all the corrupt politicians who used money and media to execute their game plan?

Even the powerful Gandhis (descendants of Indira Gandhi) couldn’t go this far in their dubious pursuit of dynastic wealth! India is being looted in broad daylight. But educated citizens are all dancing to the tunes of Modi, finance minister Jaitley, BJP, RSS and their fundamentalist/racist organisations, who had been open supporters of Hitler in not-so-distant past. The infamous Nathuram Godse who killed Mahatma Gandhi belonged to these organisations. Gopal Godse, Nathuram’s brother, had boastfully told this to New York Times only a few years ago.

Remember December 6, 1992. — RSS and armed Hindu fanatic mobs storm through a mosque called Babri Masjid in North India, and destroy it to dust. Immediately, massive, bloody riots start across the country, where poor Muslims including women and children were slaughtered and raped, in thousands. Modi himself witnessed such a riot in Gujarat in 2002, when he was the chief minister of that state. We forget so easily!

That was the time to come to power, through mob violence. Now, it’s time for them to stay in power, through money violence. Fascism comes in various shapes.

Gold price in India has dived to the benefit of black money stockists who are conveniently purchasing gold to convert their blacks into whites. Same with real estate values. On the other hand, interest rates of bank deposits are being slashed to deprive a huge mass that has nothing barring some bank balances as source of day to day finance. This group of suffering people includes retirees and the older generation in general.

Nobody has the intention to analyze or to study all these happenings in depth. Those who dare to do it are automatically branded as anti-India traitors, especially by the pro-USA, pro-Modi high-tech, corporate-house generation.

Lately an aura of patriotism was created utilizing the pretext of military surgical strike against Pakistan, the neighboring country which had already been proclaimed as an enemy – no questions asked. Today it is being called another surgical strike targeting undisclosed money. Political parties in opposition seem to be ineffective to such an extent that one can easily doubt their integrity. Only feisty leaders such as Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal and Arvind Kejriwal of Delhi are vociferous in their protests, but they are now being subject to a hate campaign. Left parties have proved to be the laughing stock owing to their stupefied inaction. Trade Unions are equally clueless and madly in search of a workable policy, which seems nowhere to be found.

The need of the hour is to come out in the street and organize protests involving people. It is not my idea or even possible for me to suggest what to do to intellectuals, as I am living far away, being one who has left his homeland and therefore easily to be branded “anti-national” as per the latest trend of the ongoing hate campaign. Nevertheless I am pretty stubborn and persistent in my efforts of communication via social media. I get tons of likes on wedding pictures and such beautiful stuff. Yet, very predictably, when I write about economics, politics, equality of humans, falsehood of media coverage, or the high-noon robbery of Modi and BJP, suddenly all those friends vanish into thin air!

The time is out of joint, the time we live in now! A wonderful country is being vandalized and we the Indians and Bengalis, who never fail to eulogize Ram Mohan Ray, Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar and other sages and intellectual activists, are looking the other way.

P.S. – I have been writing and speaking about these issues for many years, particularly since I gave up my Ph.D. career in science, and switched to work in journalism, writing, and education in politics and economics. Earlier in 2016, I spoke at length about this catastrophic, global economic terror in various places during my India tour. One of my talks was audio-recorded, which you can hear at this link. I forewarned about an imminent economic disaster in India. The link is at https://soundcloud.com/…/my-talk-on-global-economy-with-spe…. I don’t belong to any political party. I only speak the truth. And try to inform and educate as much as I can, in my humble way.

4 A.M., New York: Elections and 9/11

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I had a realization early this morning. A simple realization. And I wanted to share that with you.

I thought about the election here in New York City today, with the backdrop of 9/11. Are they connected? Are they not?

Let’s talk about the mayoral election first. Today is the primary election — to select one among the candidates each party put up. Basically, in New York City, Democratic candidate who wins today with 40% majority vote is the candidate to win the November final election. Today is that important.

There must be a real choice for ordinary, hardworking New Yorkers and their families and children this time, as opposed to media- and corporation-sponsored elections we’ve seen in the past twelve years. We need democracy that New York was known for, and not this fake democracy and plutocracy for the extreme rich and powerful.

I woke up at 4 A.M. this morning to help with election duty, even though I knew that perhaps 5 or 10% would vote in these primaries (as usual), and the other 90% would not. On one hand, I felt that was because people were disenchanted with the election system in the first place. On the other, I knew the 5 or 10 percent New Yorkers voting today would be in the leadership position — one way or the other — to help put this fake democracy back in the direction of the ordinary people.

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Stolen elections and bought off elections have cheated us New York’s working people, families, labor unions, immigrants, poor women, blacks and the vast underclass for twelve years. It is time we rose up and seized the political power. Time to drive the economy back and away from the 1 percent — to the 99 percent.

I went to help out on election duty this morning at 4 A.M. I saw obscure figures walking by in the darkness. No, they were not walking to their polling stations. They were already off to work — jumping over potholes, bypassing smelly sidewalks and riding dilapidated subway trains. This was not a different day for them.

Only if we could include and involve and inspire them in this democracy, one the rich and powerful stole away from us. If we could, there would be a completely nonviolent revolution. There would be democracy.

I’m still hoping.

***

This is New York, today. End it.
This is New York, today. End it.

Now, what does it have to do with 9/11 and the terrorism and tragedies? Is there a connection?

Is there not? Think about it.

Let’s take the position of New York City mayor. This person can educate an entire generation about the ills of terror, the global history behind it, the obnoxious way New York City government and powerful people handled it, the way they silenced opposition and dissenting voices who were crying foul about the manufactured news surrounding the terrorism and the social, health and environment fallout, and much more.

The tragedies of 9/11 helped the rich and powerful of New York and the entire country of USA to steer away real debates on education, employment, immigration, labor, environment, health and society and economy in general. Corporate media helped the rich and powerful, and took advantage of a vulnerable nation, flouting all norms and ethics of democracy. Their purposefully misplaced priorities have made the rich richer, and poor poorer. They made the powerful even more powerful, flouting all decency and laws.

New York City and the rest of the country keep reeling with more unemployment, more imprisonment, more deportations, more hate crimes, more gun violence, more police brutality, more failing schools, more street potholes and more smelly subways. Prices have gone through the roof. The poor and middle class can’t afford to live in the city. Yet, at the same time, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Wall Street and war and oil and food and real estate industries have become wealthiest in history. Stock markets have boomed in the past few years — when the rest of the country was suffocating with job losses, home losses, deaths and despair.

It is a strange, uncanny, ghost-like economic system. Things are happening without our knowledge, and the one percent is making decisions, using you and me as election pawns.

Further, as far as terrorism and tragedies, the rich and powerful here in New York and America have not learned any lessons from the tragedies of 9/11. There is no preparedness — political, economic or psychological for future catastrophe.

Other than the Kafkaesque phone and Internet and camera spying on citizens and residents, that is.

Observing with Care,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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P.S. — By the way, last night we got at least two dozen calls from candidates running for various NYC positions. We felt so happy that they finally remembered us, even though four years too late. Thank you, candidates. You do value democracy — at least on the night before elections.

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Obama vs. Romney: Seriously, What the Heck is Going On?

One face or two faces? That is the question.

Over the last few weeks, I asked some hard questions I thought we should all ask Romney, Ryan and the Republicans. I did the same with Obama and the Democrats.

Because the so-called mainstream media is not asking them, I thought the onus is on us.

Even though it’s an American election where U.S. citizens vote to elect their president this November, actually it’s an election that has serious impact for the entire world. In a way, it’s a global election. Therefore, politically enlightened people from all over the world need to understand the various aspects of the election as clearly as possible. For the entire world, the stake is too high.

I was happy to see the level of reaction to my posts. A surprisingly high number of readers of this blog — now from near and far corners of the world — read the questions I asked to the Democratic and Republican candidates. Some wrote their comments directly on the blog, and some others sent me their feedback personally. Some of these friends had a strong disagreement with my position on Obama; they were also unhappy to see how a super-excited 2008 me turned into a less than enthusiastic 2012 me. These friends challenged my political acumen when I asked some critical questions to the Obama campaign. When I said I was not feeling excited at all for Obama, they warned me not to pop their excitement balloon. They said my wet blanket to douse their party bonfire might hurt Obama’s chances.

I felt delighted — by the thought that my little, no-name blog had so much power!

Of course, this is almost an academic discussion. Neither Romney nor Obama is going to read my blog, let alone answer my questions. But this is all I can do. I have said it many times before: other than my writing that I use to make my readers, friends and sympathizers think, I have no power. I have no money, no pedigree, no political connection and no real hope for publishing my thoughts for a wide mainstream audience. Therefore, this is really the extent of my political activism. This is the best use of my experience, analysis and energy.

Ronald Reagan pushed french fries and ketchup for vegetable for school lunch programs. Did McDonald’s serve?

I try to make people think. I try to challenge their minds. This is my only non-violent weapon.

Now, for the sake of time, let’s select only a few issues that are critically important both for an U.S. and global audiences. Food, clothes and shelter: these three have always, historically, been the most primary for the ordinary people across the world. In today’s globally-connected society, some other issues have become critical: I could perhaps select war and violence, energy, environment, education and health for the list. Then, we could perhaps include the subject of labor, immigration and society. I’m sure you quickly see a few other issues that you would want to include in your first list. I am sure I myself would later reflect on it and include a few more that I might have missed this time around.

But at least for the time being, not to make this post unnecessarily long, let’s put together our first list of issues and compare the two big parties and their two big candidates on these issues. It might help us to understand the nature of the electioneering process as it is heating up here in the U.S., and determine objectively what exactly is going on. Often, these critical issues do not surface our way — the ordinary, powerless people’s way — in the 24/7 conversation on big media done by their big experts. I call it Journalism of Exclusion.

Therefore, again, the onus is on us to do it. We must do it. Questioning is democracy. Analyzing is too.

So far, we have identified the following issues to be critical to compare the positions of Obama and Romney and their two big parties.

(1) Food

(2) Clothes

(3) Shelter

(4) War and violence

(5) Energy

(6) Environment

(7) Education

(8) Health

(9) Labor

(10) Immigration

(11) Society

Of course, the all-encompassing, all-pervasive, overarching factor would be economics and money. Given its overlapping nature, I decided not to itemize economics as a separate point. The discussion of money would feature quite prominently when we take up these points — one point at a time. Foreign policy would be another such aspect: it’s going to be interwoven in the discussion of all the other points — one way or the other. And obviously, jobs, wages and unemployment would be another — if not the most important — all-pervasive subject. It brings us to the question of poverty, exploitation and injustice.

Millions of Americans seriously believe even in 2012 that global warming is a hoax and even if it’s true, God who created this earth in seven days will take care of all the problems. Can we include this topic in the presidential debate?

But in this intricately-connected world society of the new millennium, where political boundaries have become almost meaningless, especially when we consider how economics and money (and work) can move from one part of the globe to the opposite part — with a speed of light, and considering how the people in power are using the global connectedness to their advantage, I believe that perhaps we could add one more item on our list. And that item would be:

(12) Globalization.

There! I believe we have come up with a good list, at least for the time being. Now let’s see if we can briefly discuss and compare the positions of the two candidates and their parties on these issues. I’ll try to do it as simply as possible, without making it sound too academic. I’ll try to do it with a language most of us — including myself — would understand. You tell me, please, if this language works for you.

If we think carefully, there is practically no way we can discuss one of the above twelve topics exclusively: they are all overlapping. What role does food and water play in today’s politics? Food prices, food quality, water sources, water quality — and the politics of U.S. government and its two big parties — one that media hardly talks about? Coca Cola’s capturing of natural water displacing millions of poor people from their land (and putting a famous movie celebrity as their PR)? U.S. seed company Monsanto’s forced replacement of Indian farmers’ traditional seed banks with their one-crop, genetically engineered seeds forcing those farmers to go bankrupt and commit suicides in hundreds of thousands every year? McDonald’s food colonization with substandard, unhygienic food that caused obesity and serious harmful effects in the U.S. and throughout the world?

What about the foreign policy around the clothes we wear — where and how are they made? How many of us know how Wal-Mart manufactures its imported textiles from China and Bangladesh, Disney manufactures its fancy DisneyWorld costumes from Haiti or Dominican Republic, driving poor laborers like slaves and depriving child workers of their childhood and education? What about those cool i-Phones manufactured at China’s Foxconn where a large number of desperate, young Chinese workers have killed themselves — because of the horrendously oppressive work conditions and toxic environment?

Where is the discussion either at the huge, confetti-covered RNC or DNC? Is there going to be any discussion at the presidential debates? Will New York Times, NPR, PBS or CNN talk about them between now and November?

Anybody want to talk to Obama or Romney about Orwell and Newspeak?

Now, let’s see. war and violence are two subjects where the two parties’ positions are different, they say. Okay, it is true that Romney, Ryan and Rush Limbaugh’s Republican Party openly talk about a new, imminent war on Iran (or Syria, or Yemen…it doesn’t matter); on the other hand, Obama and Hillary Clinton talk about how they have finished the Iraq war and how they’re going to withdraw from Afghanistan in two years. And then of course comes Joe Biden and gives a war-drumbeat speech at DNC…as if John McCain or Joe Lieberman (remember him?) was speaking. And there is rousing chants all around at the convention…USA…USA…USA…

But let’s see: was there any reason for U.S. to be in Iraq in the first place after six or seven years of destroying an ancient civilization, killing hundreds of thousands of people, and looting their oil, gold and other treasures? It’s almost like the British colony withdrawing from India after total plundering, brutalizing and partitioning a once-prosperous civilization, putting their handpicked, subservient, “Gandhian” feudals in power. The aggressors were going to leave sooner or later anyways: there was no more reason either for the British to stay in India or for the U.S. to stay in Iraq. Where is that perspective?

Can we talk about it in a straightforward way? Oh yes, can we also include the politics Israel has always played and has been playing in this incredible mess? Isn’t Iran or Syria or Egypt or Libya or Saudi cards used in the same game?

And then come Obama’s hit list and the drones and the relentless bombing…the war is over?

And then comes Julian Assange and Wikileaks and Bradley Manning…didn’t they say whistle blowing was actually patriotic?

Would New York Times, NPR, PBS or CNN talk about them? Would anyone throw these questions — this straightforward way — in the presidential debate?

We’ll now talk about globalization, immigration, labor and the economy — and their interconnectedness. We need to know how these two parties and their candidates are different on these issues.

I hope you come back to participate in that discussion. I need you in that discussion.

(To be continued…)

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Who will talk about the globally-imposed cultural conformity? Mr. Obama? Mr. Romney? Mr. Limbaugh?